Sunday, January 24, 2010

2010 Will Be Great? Part One

I have only lived through one great year in film. That year was 2007, a year in which I had no trouble coming up with a truly top top 10 list: Gone Baby Gone, Knocked Up, There Will Be Blood, The Darjeeling Limited, No Country for Old Men, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Zodiac, Michael Clayton, Superbad, and last but not least 4 Months, 3 Weeks and 2 Days. That was a mouthful. A mouth-watering mouthful. I think of every last one of those films as exquisite little babies. I'd watch them all this very moment without a moments question. Or a moments notice. Unfortunately for 2008 it didn't live up to the previous year's might, and while 2009 had maybe five top tops it was mostly bushels of good. 

Can 2010 vanquish 2007? Of course it can, but will it? I'm not so sure. There are a lot of movies I'm interested in seeing, but out of these fifty or so will any astound me like I was three years ago? I'll do a little rundown of what I think I'll want to see, with explanations and reservations.

1. Mystery Team. Derrick Comedy's first feature film. I've heard favorable talk and unfavorable talk around it, and have enough faith in them from what they've delivered in the internet shorts to trek on over to a theater and see what they can accomplish on a grander scale. Officially a 2009 film, but it won't be in Chicago until the 4th of February. 

2. I Love You Phillip Morris. Jim Carrey and Ewan McGregor as a convict couple. The story sounds like it has plenty of room for hilarity and poignancy. Its two trailers made me laugh out loud. Both. I want to see Jim Carrey funny once more, and this feels like it'll deliver. 

3. Shutter Island. October was very nearly ruined when Scorsese's latest film was pushed a full four months back, all the way into a new decade. I took the high road and complained to no end. Finally, in three weeks? I'll be able to sink my teeth into this bad boy. It's getting positive reviews, but I hear it has weak story points. Of his 18 features I've watched I've been let down by none of them, and why should this disappoint? His priors are nearly too good to be true. I wish it could have hung out in my Top 2009 list, but it should do nicely filling a '10 slot.

4. The Ghost Writer. Roman Polanski is sadly all over the map with his filmmaking. For every Chinatown there's a Death and the Maiden. If he makes Rosemary's Baby he also has to make Oliver Twist. There isn't a rhyme or reason to when he'll make a dud or craft a masterpiece, it just sort of seems to happen. Luckily for him his track record hasn't shown him become as inert as a Francis Ford Coppola, and The Pianist, which was fairly recent, was fantastic. This could be one of his greatest, but could also be a failure. I bet it'll be... one of those. I'm tentatively excited. Solid trailer bolsters this. 

5. Cop Out. Kevin Smith has never been one of my favorite directors, I didn't bother seeing his Zach and Miri movie after lousy trailers and poor word of mouth and I haven't felt he's lived up to the potential he put on display with Clerks in any of his later works. The probability I'll see this in theaters kind of counts on a better trailer coming out, because it just doesn't look good. It's on this list because I'm not ready to write Smith off entirely, but I'm damn close. 

6. Greenberg. I'm even less excited for this movie than Cop Out. Normally I like Noah Baumbach. I think The Squid and the Whale is his best, and hold Kicking and Screaming dear to my liver. The trailer for Greenberg doesn't share any of the wit and none of the humanity of his previous few films. I expect more from him than it looks like he's giving. Sure it's just the trailer, but if there was not one interesting moment in a series of supposedly enticing trailer-ready moments what hope does the full film have at entertaining me? I would see it if it somehow presented itself with a 180 degree turn, but it's doubtful. 

7. The Runaways. (see post below)

8. Kick-Ass. I almost wrote it off after the first miserable excuse for a trailer. But a few character-centric clips and another trailer later and I'm feeling quite optimistic about Kick-Ass. It feels like there's a strong cast, a mildly funny script to work off of, and the red band trailer shows quite a bit of balls-out action that I wouldn't mind wrapping my eyes around. The production design is a bit cartoony, and a few jokes do fall flat, but the good will hopefully outweigh the lamer aspects, and I plan on giving it a chance. 

9. MacGruber. SNL needs help. There hasn't been a worthwhile character based movie from SNL since Wayne's World. Now, I like the current SNL cast, and thing writing is one of their strong suits, but the first trailer did not do very well to sell the thing, and the second trailer relieved this worries by a miniscule fraction. I might not bother with it, but positive talk could turn that around. 

10. Get Him to the Greek. Nicholas Stoller directed Forgetting Sarah Marshall, my favorite comedy of 2008, and has now directed Greek, the spin-off to Marshall. Comedy sequels often find themselves to be failures, but I have a feeling this can avoid similar doom. It could even be my favorite comedy of 2010. That's probably ridiculous. I don't really believe it. But maybe...

11. The Twilight Saga: Eclipse. Technically I don't expect this to even be half good. The idea of David Slade's take on the Twilight series is too wild to pass up, though. I expect a healthy mix of Hard Candy and 30 Days of Night, with no similarities to the first two. It may even be the series' Prisoner of Azkaban. If only. 

12. Knight and Day. Tom Cruise looks adorable. What else can I say?

13. Inception. Christopher Nolan hasn't made guessing what Inception could be about easy after decidedly keeping most of the plot points hidden. What he has made easy is getting me pumped for it. What a great cast. What a pretty good director. What fantastic looking effects. If this turns out to be a documentary on the creation of socks I would still gladly watch. I'm not saying it will be that, and I don't mean to say that couldn't be interesting, but I'm all out of logical comparisons.

14. Scott Pilgrim vs. The World. Edgar Wright made Spaced, Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. That's a wonderful series and two basically flawless genre-smashing comedies. I've read comments from early screeners saying it was unlike anything ever seen before, and that it's also very funny. I don't doubt either statement, and can't wait to see it in theaters. 

 - Eric T. Voigt

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